Every year my family spends Christmas Eve at my mother's house. It not much of an event for we don't exchange gifts (except for the Macy's gift card I always get my mother) and there is no special dinner there - my Mom usually just puts out cold cuts and rolls - but that Xmas, my first "People in my Hips" Christmas was DANGEROUS. Why it was DANGEROUS I have no idea, but I knew it would be - the past, my dark past was so connected to the present then, I was fearful as to what might happen on that oh so special and SILENT NIGHT.
I wandered into Macy's in the Jefferson Valley shopping mall. It was two hours before I was to arrive at my mother's house 3 miles away. I needed to get her gift card before Macy's closed, and I needed to walk and walk and walk.
It was upon me, the fear, the anxiety, I didn't know what it was but it was with me.
I picked out a card and told the cashier I needed $100 on it and that it was for my mother. I always talk too much to cashiers. I didn't need to talk. I needed to move.
I bought it and rushed out.
I drove down to Barnes and Noble - I would look at books and eat a big chocolate chip cookie - maybe it would go away - I could distract it and stuff it down with sugar. I didn't want to bring it with me to Mom's, I mean I was bringing a hundred dollar gift card. That was enough. I didn't need to bring...
... THE FEAR.
"This is old stuff. This is not the present moment. This is coming out of my hips!"
Books. Books. Books.
"Oh no not the self help section. No, Ken distract yourself, distract yourself!!!"
Books on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - only one but yes my symptoms are sort of the same but I didn't go to war or get in a car accident. Or did I?
"Ken GO AND EAT THE COOKIE! GO AND EAT THAT GOD DAMMED SO DELICIOUSLY SWEET COOKIE. IT WILL SAVE YOU SAVE YOU, SAVE YOU FROM THE FEAR!!!!!"
I got a cookie. And a latte with chocolate syrup in it. I sat.
I was scared but it was from THE PAST. It was old yet it felt so real.
It was time to go to Mom's.
Another cookie? No.
Suck it up, Ken. Suck it up.
It is time to pretend.
Pretend that everything is OK.
I hate the holidays.